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Sports

UNC Taps Former Player, Assistant Hubert Davis As Next Men's Basketball Coach

North Carolina's Hubert Davis celebrates on the court with teammates in 1991.
Bill Kostroun
/
AP
In this file photo from 1991, North Carolina's Hubert Davis celebrates on the court with teammates after the Tar Heels defeated Temple 75-72 in NCAA East Regional championship game at the Meadowlands in East Rutherford, N.J. on Sunday, March 24, 1991. According to multiple reports, Davis is the new head coach of the Tar Heels.

Four days after its head coach of 18 years retired, UNC Chapel Hill has found the new leader of its men’s basketball program.

Multiple media outlets are reporting – and WUNC has confirmed – that the school intends to hire former player and assistant coach Hubert Davis as the next head coach of the Tar Heels.

The Board of Trustees at UNC Chapel Hill met virtually Monday to “review the terms and conditions of a prospective employment contract and to consider prospective employment.” The meeting quickly moved into a closed session. Just before 4:30 p.m. Monday, the men's basketball team's Twitter account made the hire official, with a message from Davis.

In a separate tweet, UNC Athletic Director Bubba Cunningham said he was "looking forward to a bright future," with Davis as the men's basketball team's next head coach.

Davis, 50, is the first Black head coach of the program and just the sixth head coach of the team since 1953. He is also the first non-interim Black head coach of a major revenue sport at UNC.

"I love this university," Davis said in a statement. "I played here, I earned my degree here, I fell in love with my wife here, I got married here, I moved here after I retired from the NBA and I have raised my family here. I am proud to lead this team, and I can't wait for all that comes next."

For the past nine seasons, Davis sat next to Roy Williams – the man he succeeds – on UNC’s bench as an assistant coach. The Tar Heels won a national championship in 2017 and won four ACC regular season titles with Davis on staff. While working as an assistant, Davis’ responsibilities included recruiting, scouting, running clinics and coaching the JV squad.

The hiring of Davis bridges together multiple eras of UNC basketball and continues the program's history of hiring those with close ties to the program. Not only was he an assistant coach under the highly-successful Williams – who retired last Thursday at the age of 70 – but he also played for the legendary Dean Smith. The Tar Heels won a pair of ACC tournament titles during his time as a player and made it to at least the Sweet 16 in each of his four years on campus, including a Final Four trip in 1991. Davis was an All-ACC selection in 1992

 Roy Williams laughs with assistant coaches Hubert Davis, left, and Steve Robinson.
Chuck Liddy
In this 2017 file photo, UNC head basketball coach Roy Williams laughs with assistant coaches Hubert Davis, left, and Steve Robinson during a joint session of the North Carolina House and Senate where they honored the 2017 NCAA championship team in Raleigh, N.C., Wednesday, May 3 , 2017.

A native of Burke, Virginia, Davis played 12 seasons in the NBA after graduating from UNC with a degree in criminal justice. He was the 20th overall pick in the 1992 draft by the New York Knicks and played for the club in the 1995 NBA Finals. In the 1999-00 season, while playing for the Dallas Mavericks, the 6-foot-6 shooting guard led the league in three-point percentage, knocking down 49.1% of his attempts from behind the arc.

Davis, a longtime sharpshooter, still holds UNC’s program record for the best career three-point shooting percentage, a 43.5% mark.

Before returning to UNC as an assistant coach in 2012, Davis was a college basketball analyst for ESPN. Jay Bilas, a former Duke Blue Devils' basketball player who also works at ESPN, said in a tweet: "Hubert is a cutthroat competitor with an uncommon understanding of the game. And, he bleeds Carolina Blue. Hubert is the real deal."

Davis has never been a head coach at any level of college or professional basketball. He can prove a great deal on the large platform he has now.

The school believes Davis can keep the Tar Heels among the nation's elite and blue-blood men's basketball programs.

"He directly connects our storied past with our exciting future and shows a deep passion for putting our student athletes in the best position to succeed on and off the court," UNC Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz said in a statement. "I can't wait to see him on campus as the face of our men's basketball program."

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